Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Nice Dragons Finish Last
Nice Dragons Finish Last


Nice Dragons Finish Last
by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by self-published, 2014
E-book, Purchased
315 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn’t fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ–a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit–Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons…

“Come on, you didn’t really think I belonged in a place like that, did you? I mean, look at me.”

He waved his hand at his ratty T-shirt and jeans, and Marci began to sputter. “I thought you were wearing that ironically!” she cried. “You know, one of those ‘I’m wearing comfortable clothes because I’m too cool to care how rich I am’ guys.”


“I can’t believe it. I finally meet a dragon, and he’s a year younger than I am. I have the worst luck ever.”

  • Rachel Aaron self-published this book and did a good job.
  • There’s a mix of irreverent humor, problem-solving and action in this book! It’s a lot of fun to read. As my husband would say–this is a page turner!
  • I love the way Ms. Aaron creates this world. The way magic comes back into the world. I’m looking forward to learning more in the next book.
  • The DFZ–Detroit Free Zone–is so interesting. A new city built on top of the old city, but the old city is still teeming with people trying to survive.
  • The dragons are fierce and scary at times, but so interesting. The dragons see humans mostly as pawns for their use.
  • Julius reminds me a little of Fortitude Scott in the Generation V series. They’re both considered weak by their families. They have to learn how to live in their worlds with their family and the reality of their lives. Once Julius realizes he has to stop trying to hide he shows how clever he really is.
  • The way Julius’ mother–Bethesda–names each of her Heartstriker children from her 10 clutches of eggs. “A” names for the first to the “J” names for her last group of children. This helps her remember her children!
  • Marci Novalli is a mage who was getting her doctorate in Thaumaturgical theory before she had to leave her home. She flees to the DFZ where she meets Julius. She needs work so she agrees to help Julius get into a party. She has no idea what she’s getting into, but she’s very confident about her magical abilities!
  • I love the characters in this book especially the Heartstriker dragons we meet and learn a little about: ambitious Ian; enforcer Chelsie, self-absorbed Jessica, brash and arrogant Justin, seer Bob. I hope we meet more of the Heartstriker dragons in future books.
  • I especially enjoy Bob who’s a seer. Seers tend to be a little crazy and sometimes give obscure predictions. Bob seems to delight in that.
  • The end of the book sets up lots of possibilities for the future of all the dragons…and future books!


  • I like this book a lot. One of my favorites of the year so far–so no jeers!

And a few thoughts

  • I can’t wait for the next book in this series–One Good Dragon Deserves Another should be out this Fall!
  • Rachel Bach and Rachel Aaron are the same writer. Ms. Bach wrote the science fiction Paradox trilogy about the mercenary Devi Morris which I ended up loving. I read that Ms. Bach may write some more books set in the Paradox world! Yay!
  • Ms. Aaron previously wrote The Legend of Eli Monpress fantasy series (which I haven’t read yet–it’s always nice to have more books to look forward to).

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

10 thoughts on “Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron”

  1. Fantasy series about siblings, dragons, UF…this book checks all my boxes! Happy to hear that you loved this one so much that you had no jeers. And since we know there’s a sequel coming relatively soon, I need to read this one ASAP. Thanks for the recommendation, Jan!


  2. I really enjoyed her Paradox trilogy, but after that I was kind of Rachel Aaron/Rachel Bach-ed out! I definitely want to pick this up later in the year though! It looks great.


    1. I understand, Mogsy! I try to spread out the books I read by the same author. I’m really glad I read this one so soon after the release though since I enjoyed it so much.


  3. That’s an interesting comparison to the Generation V books – totally see the Fort/Julius thing!

    Bob was a total delight, and hopefully we’ll see more of him in the next books. Am wondering if she’s going to continue with Julius/Marci as the main protagonists or move on to others?


    1. I’m wondering too if the series will continue with Julius/Marci. There are so many ways it can go and characters to use. It’ll be interesting to see where the books go. I want to see more of Bob, too!


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